Principal Investigator

Professor R. Kōnane Bay

R. Kōnane Bay

Professor Bay is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder. She was a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow working with Professor Sujit Datta at Princeton University on investigating structure-property relationships of engineered living materials. She received her Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering working with Professor Alfred Crosby on quantifying the mechanical properties of ultrathin glassy polymer films. She received her B.S. in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2014. When not in the lab or the office, she is lifting, watching a show, solving a sudoku, or chilling with her cats, Jax and Koa.

Graduate Students

Image of Samson standing in front of shopping center in a purple shirt

Samson Adelani

Samson Adelani is a second year Ph.D. student in the Materials Science and Engineering Program. He did his undergraduate study in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria, where he studied the effect of pre-weld heat treatment on the mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of artificially aged 8011A aluminum alloy. Moreso, he previously worked with the Advanced Polymer Composite Lab at FUTA where his research focused on the use of agro-waste in the development of polymer composites for novel applications. His current research focuses on the 3D printing of Engineered Living Materials (ELMS). In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, bicycling, and playing saxophone. He also loves watching soccer games particularly (premier league) on weekends.

Picture of Ava standing in front of a white wall

Ava Crowley

Ava Crowley is a second year PhD student in Chemical Engineering. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University where she studied electromagnetic heating and extrusion-based 3D printing of synthetic polymer nanocomposites. Her current research focuses on mechanical characterization of synthetic ultrathin polymer films. 

Picture of Nick wearing a baseball cap backwards

Nick Gibson

Nick Gibson is a second year PhD student in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department
at CU Boulder. He received his B.S. in Microbiology in 2020 at University of Texas at Austin and
will be part of the Biosafety team in the Huli Lab. Prior work focused on bioremediation
mechanism discovery targeting industrial polymers and later studied the antibacterial properties
of iron chelators on Vibrio cholera and Shigella flexneri. Future goals for the lab revolve around
defining the material properties of biofilms and an effort to explore changes in these properties
based on environmental and genetic parameters.

Nick is Texas born but happily trades a day of Texas plains weather for the still temperate but
mountainous terrain of Boulder. He spends his spare time listening to podcasts on STEM and
social sciences, walking/playing with Oats, listening to music, and enjoying the occasional hikes.

Undergraduate Students

Picture of Nicole smiling

Nicole Garza

Nicole Garza is an undergraduate student in Chemical and Biological Engineering minoring in Biomedical Engineering. Her interests include biotechnology and biomaterials, specifically their roles in improving human health. Her research in the lab focuses on how bacterial suspensions can directed to grow and adapt in different polymeric environments. When she isn’t studying, Nicole likes going to the gym, attending live concerts, hiking, and working on arts and crafts projects.

Picture of Lydia smiling with a blue sky background

Lydia Flackett

Lydia Flackett is a third-year chemical engineering undergraduate student. She is interested in studying polymer physics and renewable materials. Her current research investigates the practical handling of thin synthetic polymers.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys going to yoga, finding new places to go hiking, and learning how to ski.

Teagan smiling in front of greenery

Teagan Kelly

Teagan Kelly is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Chemical and Biological Engineering. She’s interested in various topics, like biomaterials, viruses, and cells. In this lab, she’ll be working on patterning cellulose biofilms. She spends her free time crocheting, climbing, and skiing. Her favorite things include New Girl and the gym.


Image of Jax the Cat


Jax is a feline lab technician in Chemical and Biological Engineering. He has lived in three states in his lifetime. His research focuses on understanding the nature of cracks by directly laying inside of them.

He is a vocal advocate for an open door policy and has been heard crying at doors until change is enacted. His favorite pastimes are sleeping with a paw over his eyes, going on walks on his leash, and playing with his toy duck.

Picture of a tabby cat, Koa sitting on top of a bookshelf


Koa is a feline lab technician in Chemical and Biological Engineering. His current research focus is on how to play with his brother, Jax.

He loves to fall asleep on his humans. His favorite pastimes are sleeping, playing with his toys, and bouncing around the house.

Photo of a white poodle, Oats laying down


Oats is a parti poodle who spends his time sniffing around for nondescript clues and playing with his numerous toys, presumably conducting important research in his subfield of being a good boy. He is a gentle giant and spends much time on walks trying to sniff and befriend strangers. He has recently been collaborating with his lab and room mate Nick for “off-leash” research in the park around dogs in the neighborhood. While results have been promising, confounding squirrels and other uncontrolled parameters will need to be closely observed and monitored in future testing.

Gizmo, fluffy cat with blue eyes


Gizmo is a feline lab technician in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Intermittent Feline Napping. His research interests include string theory and attempting to prove that if you jump at a wall enough times, the particles might let you through.In his expansive free time, Gizmo enjoys observing avian wildlife (from a safe distance) and the culinary arts. He is also working on his lifetime goal to set a new record for the fluffiest cat on Planet Earth.